Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District honored with the “Best Communities for Music Education” designation
For the 19th straight year, the Santa Monica-Malibu school district’s music education program received national honors, consecutively longer than any school district in California.
Last month the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) was honored with the “Best Communities for Music Education” designation from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. This marks the 19th consecutive year for SMMUSD to earn these honors.
SMMUSD joins 686 districts across the country in receiving the prestigious award in 2021, and is one of only three districts in Los Angeles County to be recognized.
The Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.
“This award recognizes the outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who work together to ensure access to music learning for all students as part of the school curriculum, including during this challenging year,” said Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati. “We would not have received this recognition without the hard work and dedication of many people providing equity and access to all our students in Malibu and Santa Monica.”
The designation was based around a range of metrics, including funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
“During the most challenging time our music teachers have stepped up and continued to deliver an outstanding music education for students!” Tom Whaley, Coordinator, Visual and Performing Arts said. “SMMUSD has received this award consecutively longer than any school district in California and that is due to the commitment and hard work of all our stakeholders, but especially our fantastic music teachers!”
According to SMMUSD, research into music education shows cognitive and social skill benefits for children involved with music.
“After two years of music education, researchers found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores than their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well,” the District wrote in a press release. “Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.”